What residents of Houston’s Third Ward neighborhood saw as merely a vacant, weed-infested lot where drugs are dealt and the homeless sleep, artist Robert Hodge saw as an opportunity to use art to meaningfully connect with the past. Hodge and fellow artist Phillip Pyle II transformed the space into Beauty Box, an outdoor public installation off Dowling Street (across from the Progressive Amateur Boxing Association headquarters).
With contributions from The Idea Fund, Houston Arts Alliance, and Everything Records, Hodge and Pyle purchased furniture, put up wallpaper, added knickknacks and some pictures of Dr. and Mrs. King, JFK, and Jesus, hoping to evoke best remembrances of the neighborhood’s past. “We really wanted to engage the neighborhood by creating a project that would illuminate a special era in Third Ward history and have it actually be present in the neighborhood,” said Hodge.
“The weather and the people will determine the fate of the work,” said Pyle. “In a way, this ‘time capsule’ is representative of how art can transform spaces and inspire hope and pride.” On the second night after installation, a homeless man slept on the couch. On the fourth night, 30 people showed up to screen a movie.
The installation will be up through the end of August and will include a variety of screenings, artist talks, and national and local performers.